It’s hard to believe that in exactly 2 weeks, I will be flying to Torino. This trip has literally been in planning for almost a year, and now the time of departure is sneaking up quickly. I’m ready, but in many ways still feel unprepared. On one hand, I’ve been reading, talking, listening to everything and anything having to do with sex trafficking for the past 9 months and feel like I have a good basic understanding of the issue. On the other hand, I still feel that apprehension of stepping into a new place, being foreign to the language and culture, and nervous about if I’ll even be of help to my sponsoring organization. The latter, I know, will subside as I get comfortable there and find my way around. I just have to literally jump in and get my feet wet.
This summer, I will be working with the TAMPEP International Foundation, which has a branch in Torino, Italy. The organization provides rehabilitation services for sex workers. Since Torino is a major destination point for sex trafficking victims from west Africa (Nigeria) and eastern Europe (Albania), majority, if not all, of the women are victims of this illicit sex trade and are in need of a way out. TAMPEP-Torino provides safe housing in a shelter, job training, counseling sessions, and accompanies women to health clinic visits. I, and my fellow intern Michelle Lanspa, will have a chance to serve these women in each of these capacities.
By the end of this summer, I want to have a detailed understanding of policies and programs regarding trafficking, specifically the status of trafficking between Italy and Nigeria. I also want to capture the stories of these women to ideally show others in the U.S. and Nigeria just how grave an issue this is. I do not want this summer to just be spent in an office- I sincerely want to leave Torino knowing how I can bring attention to the plight of victims of sex trafficking. Going to Torino is just the first step in this journey…I am passionate about being a voice for those facing injustices, and specifically, I hope to travel to Nigeria next summer and work with sex trafficking victims there. But for now, Torino is before me, and I’m excited!
Posted By Leslie Ibeanusi
Posted May 22nd, 2007